BGA Extra: Patriots at Jets

Bent , TheJetsBlog.com

This analysis is based on watching and re-watching TV footage. As such, it is not always possible to accurately determine everything that was going on. However, every effort has been made to ensure that the information below is as complete and correct as possible. For the purposes of BGA Extra (but not BGA, since that is too early in the week), I have also reviewed the coaches film, which was available for every play (whereas last year, it was only available for big plays). Statistics from PFF which are not available to subscribers were used in the completion of this article and we thank them for providing us with exclusive access to these.

Welcome to BGA Extra, where I draw a line under the previous weekend’s game by responding to your questions from BGA during the week. After the jump, I respond to your questions about Thursday night’s game against the Pats. If you would like your questions answered in future, remember to read my BGA game breakdowns every Monday and leave your question in the comments section.

MEL31602
I felt like i was in the minority last night on Twitter, but I continued insisting that any use of the word “embarrassment” for this loss was incorrect. It would have been embarrassing if the Jets had been thoroughly outplayed and outschemed on every drive. But I feel that it really was just a few plays that changed the nature of the game, and your analysis seems to reflect that. Everyone gives Rex et al flack for saying that, but it’s the truth. I really think if it wasn’t for those big turnovers and key mistakes by the secondary that the Jets could have been in this game late. After all, it was a tie game at the end of the first quarter, and as you said the Jets outscored the Pats in the second half. So while I realize that talent is an issue on this squad, I do think more than talent it is really an issue of cleaning up mistakes at pivotal times. How exactly the Jets can do that, I’m not sure, but then again I’m not a coach. Your thoughts? (both on my opinion and on how the Jets can limit these mistakes at key times).

I do agree with your opinion, although I perhaps would shy away from voicing it as strongly as you did, lest I get labelled a homer or an apologist. I would disagree with one small part though…it doesn’t matter how it happened, 35-0 down at home is an embarrassment. I’d even go so far as to say that the nature of some of those “few plays” was so humiliating that it was worse than getting marched up and down on like happened in Flight 3-45 two years ago.

It’s painful to see those mistakes at key moments (in the red zone) or that lead to huge plays (80+ yard touchdowns, defensive scores), but I don’t know what to suggest in terms of how to stop them. The obvious answer is consistency of approach, flexibility of scheme and accountability at all levels, but we were led to believe these were already supposedly happening. Right now, teams can just sit back and wait for the Jets to shoot themselves in the foot.

subwayfare
Bent said – “I’m sorry to say that this could indicate that this Jets team has a very fragile psyche and that they perhaps suffer from a tendency to let things get to them when not everything is going their way.” Bingo. The question is why/how to fix it?

Ummm…

lewieb50
Can you sum up the seasons to date of Coples and Hill? In more depth than the obvious (i.e. Hill has killer drops, Coples has been inconsistent). The things I’m looking for in particular are: Coples–has he improved in terms of shedding blocks, making plays since the beginning of the season? Does Hill get open a lot? Also is there a quasi-objective way to evaluate each against other draftees in their position groups (i.e. Coples vs. Chandler; Hill vs. Randle)?

I think Coples has hit a bit of a wall over the last few weeks. However, he usually does flash at least once or twice a game and certainly has the ability to win one-on-one matchups and create impact plays. PFF has him 11th (out of 32 qualifying 3-4 DEs) in run stop percentage and 5th in terms of pass rush productivity. You can’t really compare him to Jones, because he’s not an edge rusher – typically a position where production is higher. A better comparison is Wilkerson last year. Wilkerson was 5th in run stop percentage and 18th in pass rush productivity. If Coples progresses like Wilkerson has (4th and 12th respectively this year) then he’d be well on the way.

As for Hill, I remain pleased with his ability to get separation. Whenever he runs deep, he looks good and he also runs some nice short routes that he’ll be able to make some yards after the catch with once he starts catching them. Obviously, he’s struggling a little with his confidence in his hands, but Coach Lal worked with Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey in Oakland, so he has experience in working with guys who struggle to catch a lot of balls as a rookie. In terms of other rookies getting decent playing time, TY Hilton is the big revelation, but obviously he is benefiting from Andrew Luck’s emergence. Kendall Wright has a pretty good catch rate, but Justin Blackmon has a 50% catch rate and Rod Streater’s is below 50%, like Hill’s. Randle has similar numbers to Hill and, like Hill, also had one big game (six of his 13 catches) that boosts his otherwise unimpressive production on a week by week basis. Randle has a slightly higher average per catch, but that is boosted by a 56-yarder and a 36-yarder, whereas Hill’s longest went for 33.

damion
Do the Jets need a new GM? The Jets current roster has about 7-8 players I think you can build around (Sanchez isn’t one of them) and given the recent coaching history of the Jets do you think it behooves them to hire an offensive minded head coach (i.e. Todd Haley/Jay Gruden or someone else) this offense is dreadful and predictable. Rex Ryan is married to Mark Sanchez as his starter and that should cause him to lose his job right?

7-8 players really isn’t a bad nucleus to build around. Looking at the team Tannenbaum built in 2009 and 2010, how many of them were on the 2005 team he inherited? Brandon Moore, Shaun Ellis, Jerricho Cotchery and Kerry Rhodes. You can’t tell me that’s a better nucleus than the 7-8 guys they currently have in your estimation. So, he’s done it before…but they definitely don’t seem to be heading in the right direction.

You know me, I would prefer a defensive team and low scoring games. However, getting a defensive head coach doesn’t guarantee that. Did you know that under Rex Ryan, the Jets haven’t had a regular season win where they scored 21 or fewer points since 2009? If getting an offensive head coach will mean some low scoring wins, sign me up!

Organizationally, the Jets have been tied to Sanchez since they drafted him. They had a potential out this year, but gambled on him continuing to progress and that looks to have been a misfire. I don’t blame Rex for throwing his support behind Sanchez, because I’m not sure what other choice he had. It’s certainly true that Sanchez’s failings could ultimately lead to Rex Ryan’s demise as head coach, but it’s too soon to say that.

Seawolf
Can we find a OC with a damn clue? 3rd and 4th and short and we run at Wilfork? Really?!

Not to defend the playcalling there, but the Jets actually didn’t run right at Wilfork. On each play, they went up the middle, walling off Wilfork (the left defensive end) with a double team on each occasion. This double team was effective on third down, but he split it and penetrated into the backfield on fourth down. Later on, they got down to the two yard line and ran three times, failing on each occasion to get in. Again, they didn’t run at Wilfork, but he was able to get downhill to prevent one of the runs up the middle.

Seawolf
What is going on with all the screw-ups on covering people? Seems a lot more uncovered receivers in games than in the past. Communication issue or lack of talent?

They still did have a lot of blown coverages over the last few years, but yes it does seem to happen more often this year. Part of that is the fact that they don’t rely on man-to-man as much as they used to. With Revis out, that might be something that wasn’t really planned for and had to be implemented on the fly. Against New England, the Jets always mix up their coverages, so there’s always some scope for someone to think it’s man and someone else to think it’s zone. I’m pretty sure they miss Jim Leonhard too.

As for who is at fault, I’m seeing Kyle Wilson involved a lot. He definitely messed up against the Rams on the fourth down touchdown where two players were alone at the back of the end zone and the Welker touchdown on Thursday night was a similar play, maybe even attempting to exploit the same kind of confusion. All three safeties have been involved in some of these mix-ups too though and David Harris has also had some missteps. To answer your final question, it is a communication issue, but I feel like that’s part of how talented you are anyway. What good is a guy who is talented but blows coverages all the time?

Seawolf
Does anyone know who in charge of talent evaluation for the Jets? Seems they miss in drafts and free agents more often than not.

Terry Bradway is still the Senior Personnel Executive. Then again, he has been since being ousted as GM and the Jets have made some good moves in that time. Joey Clinkscales, who used to hold the same position, went on to be VP of college scouting, but left the team in May, after the draft. Maybe they will miss him, or maybe they will prove to be better off without him.

a57se
There was a play early in the game where Collingsworth commented that Stephen Hill had torched Talib on a double move but Sanchez didn’t see him and checked down to Powell…NBC didn’t show any replays of it so I am asking that you look for it in the All 22 footage and let me know if this was accurate…

I found this eventually – it was actually a check down to Greene, not Powell. Yes, Hill did get behind Talib, as Collingsworth said, but I’m not sure Sanchez “didn’t see him” as he suggested. The deep safety was roaming over towards that area of the field and I think Sanchez just decided on the safer option. That’s a throw I’d expect most NFL quarterbacks to have the confidence to make, but given how inaccurate he’s been on deep balls down that right sideline, he probably made a wise choice, understanding his own limitations.

Two plays later, he threw the pick. And, yes, if he hit Hill for a touchdown there, it would have been 7-0 Jets.

Longshot
Once again, can someone explain to me the TOTAL CONTRIBUTION and VALUE of the Tebow acquisition in the year 2012?

Clearly he’s had no impact whatsoever and the Jets shot themselves in the foot with the way they’ve used him. I’m certain him taking Sanchez’s job was never part of the plan, primarily because of the increase in his contract value this would bring about. The Jets really can’t afford another $11m to be added onto the cap commitments for 2013 and 2014. The fact he’s played even less than we expected might have a lot to do with Sanchez’s struggles, because the more reps they give him, the later in the year they’d have to wait to give him a chance to start and still remain below those incentive thresholds. However, their misuse of him goes even further than that.

In Canadian Football, nearly every team has a quarterback that comes in every time there’s a short yardage down and most of the time they run a short yardage play like a sneak. You’re telling me the Jets’ short yardage game, something which has held them back this year, wouldn’t be considerably better if they did that? Also, they might have had some creative ideas for Tebow that they’ve been intending to use later in the year when they get a big game, but now they’ve blown that because (a) he’s hurt and (b) they’re falling out of contention, so there may be no big games left. So, do you save these ideas for next year? It leaves the Jets in a situation where their best trump card is unplayed and all we’ve seen from Tebow is the “developing tendencies” portion of the progression. They even managed to screw that part up by getting slightly creative in the red zone earlier in the season but those plays were ineffective because they hadn’t yet done enough to establish those tendencies and exploit the defense’s reaction.

It’s a mess. I still believe the concept of getting Tebow wasn’t flawed from a football perspective, but they’ve really screwed the pooch on this one. Now I’m not sure they’ll retain him and we’ll probably never know if it would have worked until someone else tries it with him and probably ends up beating us at our own game.

Disgruntled Jets Fan
You said the pats followed your “blueprint” for beating the Jets. Did the Rams try to?

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to produce the blueprint for beating the Jets in full:

1. Show up.

Just kidding. The Rams really did not do the sort of things I identified, because they’re more of a line-up-and-beat-you kind of team rather than one that displays any creativity.

jetsfan29
I was wondering when Sanchez throws his picks, is it consistently to one receiver? Like say Keller. I’m curious if there’s a trend of him throwing picks to one intended receiver or if it’s spread out.

Good question! Well, nobody has any more than two interceptions on balls thrown to them this year (Cumberland, Keller and Hill are tied). However, if we look back, Braylon Edwards had eight and Jerricho Cotchery had seven in 2009. Santonio Holmes led the team with four in 2010 and five in 2011. Dustin Keller has had 11 interceptions thrown to him in the Sanchez era but never more than four in one year. Interestingly, Brett Favre threw to him 74 times and was never intercepted.

subwayfare
The most important question might be: Has Sanchez’s butt fumble surpassed the Bubby Brister shovel pass as the most humiliating moment in franchise history?

I think you can include that whole three touchdowns in 52 second debacle as one entry and send it right to the top of the charts. Honorable mentions include the whole Brett Favre scandal, losing to the 1-15 Colts in the early 90’s and last year’s loss to Tebow’s Broncos. As embarrassing as the Bubby Brister shovel pass was, what did you expect – you had Bubby Brister at quarterback! In fact, blowing a 21-point lead to Brister’s Eagles (on an interception return that involved about 17 missed tackles) probably deserves a place on that list too. The butt fumble will probably be number one until the Jets manage to lose to a Sanchez-quarterbacked team at some point in the near future.

JetsFaninNC
The Jets have not been to a Super Bowl in 40 years. In that time, they’ve had two owners (that I know of), fourteen head coaches, and God knows how many quarterbacks. Yet the results have remained the same. Jets fans have been “treated” to generally poor play, and even in those situations where the team plays well and makes the playoffs, they seem to collapse in the big moments. This goes back as long as I’ve been a fan (admittedly, that’s only to the late 90s), and I’m sure it’s gone on longer … My question is, what is the common denominator? Why is this franchise so consistently bad/unclutch?

The fans?

Sometimes a culture of negativity pervades an organization and has a tangible effect on the end product, whether that be through an unmistakable sense of impending doom adding to the pressure when the team is doing well or the levels of frustration boiling over when things go badly. Look at a team like the Cubs and how they seem to choke every time they try to build a winner. I applaud Rex Ryan’s efforts to say that the days of the Same Old Jets were behind us, but I’m afraid they’re not.

madbacker #57
Is Pace doing anything out there? For the amount of flack Scott catches, he is doing his job. What is Pace doing? He certainly isn’t getting Sacks, since BT is the OLB dropped into coverage most of the time, Pace isn’t doing that. Games like last night make me think that Pace is having trouble containing outside runs. Please shed some light as to why he is being paid $7.4 mill this year and $11.6 next year. IMO had the D yet again, had some sort of pass rush from the OLB to aid the Dline we would have had a totally different game.

First of all, he isn’t being paid $11.6m next year. No way he sees anywhere near that kind of money. Pace has not been playing well, but probably still represents an upgrade over Garrett McIntyre, so I can see why the team would give him most of the reps while they were still in contention. As they fall out of contention, it makes sense for McIntyre or Ricky Sapp – guys who could be part of the future, while Pace won’t be – to get more reps and I expect this to happen. Pace does actually have a positive run blocking grade (just) and has generated more pressure than anyone else on the team (just). Of course, he has played a lot more than most of the guys he has the lead over in that category and Muhammad Wilkerson is just behind him despite playing as an interior rusher – a position where it’s notoriously harder to generate pressure.

Boston University JET
Ugh. I don’t even know what to say. It’s not much more fun when you live with and near a city of Pats’ fans. Someone is going to have to be the scapegoat again this season… but I really don’t want it to be either Rex or Tanny… Sanchez probably isn’t an option to be the scapegoat due to the financial commitments… Can we get rid of the owner?

Nope.

Joeyboy79
What changes do the Jets need to be a real threat and to be able to compete with the top teams? Also, what happened to the run defense and do you think a mid level QB or lets say even slightly better than mid level, can get this team to the big dance with this supporting cast and coaches?

As the Jets showed in their games against the Texans and the first game against the Patriots, they CAN compete with those teams. However, they need a focused performance with good execution to achieve this and right now they have too many inconsistent players – especially Mark Sanchez, who actually played pretty well in both of those games. If they don’t finish the season strongly, I’d imagine they’ll make some major changes, but if they do finish well, they might just try and sell us all on the return of Revis and Holmes making them instantly better on both sides of the ball and replacing a couple of the older guys.

I don’t think any quarterback, other than one of the elite few, could get THIS supporting cast to the Super Bowl – because of the injuries. However, with everyone healthy, I definitely think a mid-level quarterback could win with this team. The unfortunate thing is that I was certain Sanchez would be able to perform at a mid-level quarterback level, but clearly I overestimated his ability to adapt to the new system. Maybe he can turn it around, but it isn’t looking likely right now.

Kirk the Jerk
Every time we play the Pats, I marvel at two particular things: how they (1) play a bunch of no name scrubs, who seem to overachieve year after year and (2) get away with a lot of these gray area, soft breaches of the rules, like WR picks. How do the Jets consistently fail to take advantage of the apparent talent gap and why do the refs so rarely throw flags on pick plays, when they often occur right in front of them? What magic potion does BB use?

It seems futile to complain about the officiating, but there’s something to be said for bending the rules once in a while. If your offense is stagnating, then getting away with a hold, push-off or pick play could grease the wheels and if you don’t get away with it, then all you lose is some yardage. That gives you another shot and if the drive does end up stalling, that was happening anyway, so maybe it’s worth chancing once in a while. As you stated, they often miss the pick plays, so if you design one carefully enough and execute it well enough, there’s probably a higher percentage chance of the official making the mistake as there would be if you relied on a defender missing a tackle in the flat or getting beaten in coverage.

Having re-watched the play on the coaches film, I’d also like to point out that there’s a good possibility this was Eric Smith’s fault and not Bart Scott’s. Welker motioned from out wide to the slot and Smith went with him, as Scott also reacted as if he was the one responsible for the zone over the middle. Either way, it was a coverage mix-up that was exacerbated by the illegal pick.

As for the no name scrubs, these are guys that came from the same sources as the Jets’ so-called “no name scrubs”: Late round picks, undrafted free agents and low priority free agents or waiver pickups. I guess the reason those guys make more of an instant impact on the Pats’ team is three-fold. One factor is superior coaching, another is that they have a simpler system on both sides of the ball. Finally, they have some talented guys at key positions, enabling the no names to slot into a straight forward role without messing up the core of the team. In truth a lot of those no names are just as inconsistent as the Jets’ no names, it just stands out more when they make contributions to a winning effort and the guys the Jets have make mistakes that contribute to a loss.

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I’ll be back on Monday to recap the Cardinals game. See you then!